Page 15 - Studio International - September 1966
P. 15

Seghers, and Rembrandt is thus taking a respon-  then you make it look like something that nobody   What excites you about British art?
           sible attitude towards the medium.       saw before, if you can think it up.        I was enormously impressed by the Paris Biennale
            There is certainly no sense of embattlement. Andy                                 which had Philip King, David Hockney and others.
           Warhol gets more publicity than any other single,   This is a kind of dynamic experiment that you're pro-  It was certainly the best national group in that
           living American artist right this minute. You can-  posing?                        exhibition. I was enormously enthusiastic about
           not even open a fashion section of the Herald Tri-  Yes, and boredom. To make it clear-I think   that. And then, of course, Moore is undeniable. I
           bune without seeing his name at least once a week,   that if de Kooning says that, then what he really is   don't personally feel very inspired by, say, Barbara
           and that's not really being 'underground' at all.   interested in is Poussin; that's his way of not being   Hepworth.
           There's a cinema on Lafayette Street to show those   bored with Kandinsky, or by Kandinsky, when
           movies; most Hollywood producers don't have as   all the world is looking at Kandinsky. That attitude   Nevertheless, in American art there's already an achieve-
           much-their own showcase in New York. I don't   may only work for two years, but that doesn't   ment created which is sufficient?
           mean that it isn't a good thing, I think it's terrific,   matter in the life of the artist as long as it energizes   Yes, so that it isn't just a process of 'becoming'. I
           but it is not being 'underground'; that's a lot of   him to produce more works that are beautiful.   don't think American art has to become anything
           romantic nonsense.                                                                now, it can add to itself-oh yes, apart from the
                                                     Are there things which attract you, excite you, in English   natural ambitions of anybody who's healthy-but
            So you have for the first time a deliberately extremist art   art at the moment?   there are certain masterpieces of American art, as
                                                     Yes. I think there are a lot of injustices going on,
           with a ready-made audience? 	                                                      there are of British art and Egyptian art and so on,
            Yes.                                    personally. One is that the Pop Art thing in   which are already doing their own work. They
                                                    America has been almost universally presumed to   exist and there they are.
            What difference do you think this makes?   be American, which it isn't, since if I remember
            I think that if you were an Athenian, let's say,   correctly as early as about 1952 or 1953 Pop Art as   Have you taken part in Happenings?
           and you went to the studio and you saw the eyeballs   we know it today had already been done in England.   No, I never did.
           being painted arid the nipples being painted and   In addition the British public has made an en-
           so on, it would be just as sensational as if you were   thusiastic response to the most important American   You've been only a witness?
           invited to a private showing of Flaming Creatures.   artists, more than in America. I think that in many   Yes, I did have that. I took part in them in the
           It's the same thing because it is part of your cul-  cases, certainly in those of Pollock, Rothko,   sense that I got that tone with it. If Red Grooms
           ture. There's no reason to attack a culture that will   Rauschenberg, and Jasper Johns (perhaps not   decides that he's going to paint his face white, get
           allow it to happen and even foster the impulse to   Jasper so much because he did have a good res-  into some old-fashioned underwear, have a drain
           create it. The bourgeoisie has now been so com-  ponse here), it was after the London exhibitions   dragged across the stage, if a tree is going to fall
           pletely absorbed by the rest of society that it can't   that Americans snapped to and said, 'Well, we've   over in a Jim Dine, if something in an Oldenburg
           even have its prejudices any more.       really got something here and we'd better start   is going to collapse, that is for your fun, and it's
                                                    studying it and thinking about it and doing some-  supposed to remind you that art is fun and that
            So the avant-garde no longer exists in a state of detach-  thing about it.' The same thing, of course, hap-  we're all children and that it's marvellous. It's
           ment or isolation?                       pened in the reverse sense with Francis Bacon's   all they meant by them. It's not existentialist, you
            No, the  avant-garde  has been made up all   first show in New York, which absolutely bowled   know, or propaganda for any movement.
           through history by people who are bored by other   everybody over here. He is a magnificent artist,
           people's ideas. You don't have to have the Russian   certainly, but they weren't at that time even
           Revolution or the French Revolution or the Civil   paying much attention to Pollock. I think that's
           Rights Movement in order to get irritated with   one thing that cultures can do mutually back and
           other people's ideas. All you have to do is be one   forth. Strangers can appreciate the elements which   This interview was recorded in New York in October
           individual who is tired of looking at something that   are too close to you and which you don't really   1965. The introductory paragraph was supplied by
           looks like something else; and if you're a painter   look at.                     Edward Lucie-Smith.

           Statements by Nusberg                    intuitive comparison of regular and non-comparable   which can be made part of our present. Strange
                                                    parts. They admitted freedom inside their system, but   constructions stand or hang or move in space and
           ln our August issue we published a statement by Lev   if we choose a certain system of signs freely (system   on the ground, over a huge area. They are similar to
           Nusberg, the 29-year-old leader of a group of Moscow   equals a state of reciprocal dependence of elements,   machines, but they have been created according to
           constructionist and kinetic artists working in close col-  subordinate in any concrete case to certain rules) we   other principles. They are neither statues nor pictures
           laboration with architects, and reproduced works exhi-  give up freedom inside our system, the freedom of   in the presently-understood sense. Our animated
           bited at Zagreb and Prague by members of the group.   one element towards another. It is more rational to   system is closest to architecture. From a distance it
            Below we print an edited version of statements by   try, by means of absolute regularity (symmetry) to   vibrates, changes in appearance and colour, moves
           Nusberg on more general topics. The statements, which   give a form to all the riches of the human spirit.   in space, sometimes almost disappears, only to re-
           are dated 1963, were published in the organ of the                                appear in other colours and shades. The materials:
           Czechoslovak Association of Artists recently.   The movement of three planes cannot be expressed   metal, man-made fibres, glass, beams of light, wires,
                                                    in two dimensions. That is why we have to dis-  loudspeakers, screens. The construction: a skeleton.
            Discontent with the form in which the internal world   member them and move into space. But space, too,   It moves around its axis, continually changing its
           of man has been expressed until now is the main   will chain us, will not permit us to fly upwards. We   external forms. As if we were looking, in autumn, at a
           cause of our quest....                   want works of art in which life is given full scope.   tree standing in water: it looks different from this
                                                    Life-that is movement!                   side and that, but the construction of the branches
           A synthesis of all possibilities! The exploitation of                             remains unchanged. Not only forms and colours, but
           scientific and technological achievements in art-in   In nature we see not only reflected colour, but also   sounds, too. Kind and friendly ones, and suddenly
           spite of the fact that technology cannot make or re-  colours which are themselves sources of light.   sharp and dissonant impulses. Parts of a system, but
           place artI But to improve the technological aspects of   These 'light-colours' are the sun, the stars, plasma,   with an independent existence of their own. When
           the object helps express its content more accurately.   gasses, artificial sources of light. We impoverish   we approach we are aware of variations in tempera-
                                                    ourselves by rejecting these 'light-colours' in painting   ture, currents of air, new scents. The music gets
            By what means should the content be expressed?   and sculpture and reducing the expression of light   louder, the construction's organism gradually lights
           The alternating rational interdependence of elements   to the conditional speech of colour. By means of   up, the sounds change. The whole system starts to
           or parts of the work has not in the absolute sense   'light-colour' we can express content more exactly   revolve around its axis, the speed of rotation increases,
           been regular or symmetrical, neither in Mondrian,   than by a simple colour.      it begins to rise. We take it in with our eyes and
           Malevich, or Gabo. They constructed their balance on                              ears, but above all with our whole body. Yes, with
           dissonances, they achieved regularity by means of   Let the imagination free! I invite you to the future,   our entire body.
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